Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron
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  1. #1
    Niels is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron

    Hello,

    my son and daughter are giving Time4Learning a go for a month and we can't seem to get Time4Learning to run on Firefox 3 under GNU/Linux. We have five computers that run Linux, one old desktop that runs Windows and one Mac. Most of the laptops run Ubuntu Hardy Heron. Every computer runs Firefox 3.0.

    I can almost make Time4Learning work on Hardy Heron by running the plugin User Agent Switcher so I can tell your server I'm running Internet Explorer on Windows XP. If I do that I get past the browser check but some of the buttons don't work, e.g. the Language Arts and Math buttons. You, know, minor inconveniences.

    Any suggestions, besides "use Windows"? Anything you can modify on the backend? Are there Java applets involved?

    Regards,

    Niels Olson

  2. #2
    t4lwebster's Avatar
    t4lwebster is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Niels,

    I had to go get info from our tech guy for this one. He says:

    "You can certainly try FireFox on Linux, there's no particular reason for the site not to work, but we don't support Linux in terms of issue resolution. If you run into any problems, e-mail support and we can see if we can resolve them but, we just don't have the resources to test on a Linux platform."

    I am not sure if this helps of if this is just a long-winded way of saying "use Windows".

    Hope this helps.

    Kris
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    Time4Learning Member Support

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  3. #3
    glen_ap is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Here is a partial quote of email that I sent them on this issue:

    We are using the Debian GNU/Linux operating system with a custom branded version of Firefox, called Iceweasel. I have all the necessary plugins, and can sometimes get it to work. However I must jump through several hoops to do so, and it is never reliable.

    The behavior we see is that when we log in we see a message telling us that the browser does not meet the minimum requirements. As a computer programmer specializing in web technologies, I am surprised to see this older technique still in use. Instead of checking the version of the browser in use, you should check to see if the necessary features are available.
    Please see these sites for more information:

    http://www.quirksmode.org/js/support.html
    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum91/157.htm

    As is obvious from the second link, the technique your site uses has been out of favor since 2002.

    I read in your Parents Forum the following statement:
    "You can certainly try FireFox on Linux, there's no particular reason for the site not to work, but we don't support Linux in terms of issue resolution. If you run into any problems, e-mail support and we can see if we can resolve them but, we just don't have the resources to test on a Linux platform."

    I find this very disappointing. I work in a shop with limited resources as well yet I find the time to test on Linux. There are services out there that provide virtual environments so you can test the various Linux browsers. For example: http://www.crossbrowsertesting.com/ Additionaly, your tech is
    100% wrong, because your site actively refuses to work unless you use the correct browser.
    My wife and daughter really like T4L, but I refuse to purchase a
    Windows license just to use this site.

  4. #4
    glen_ap is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Re: Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron

    Quote Originally Posted by Niels
    I can almost make Time4Learning work on Hardy Heron by running
    the plugin User Agent Switcher so I can tell your server I'm running Internet
    Explorer on Windows XP. If I do that I get past the browser check but some of
    the buttons don't work, e.g. the Language Arts and Math buttons. You, know,
    minor inconveniences.
    You don't want to identify yourself as Internet Explorer, because that won't
    work right as you experienced. I believe the site works correctly with Firefox
    2. So you need to identify yourself as Firefox 2 instead of Firefox 3. The
    easiest way to do this is to download additional user agent settings from
    http://www.testingreflections.com/node/view/5125.

    Then you should probably try one of the Firefox 2 on Linux, or Firefox 2 on
    Windows strings.

    Hope that helps!

  5. #5
    t4lwebster's Avatar
    t4lwebster is offline Senior Member
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    Hi,

    We would like to Time4Learning to be as convenient to use as possible, with a really low price, and great support. And of course, we'd love it if there were never any technical issues.

    The reality is that we cannot test and support every possible system and since we license the system from Compass, it is more up to them to set platform decisions than us.

    We should work on Internet Explorer, Firefox, & Safari on PC & Mac.
    We don't have any real involvement with Linux so the advice or help that we can provide is limited.

    One resource we can point you toward is the CompassLearning System Requirement page & check to see if your system will work with the program.

    As a side note, as techies ourselves, we love hosting on linux and we wish that the world was configured slightly differently that it is. Sigh....

    Kris
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    Time4Learning Member Support

    Need help getting started? Check out our Getting Started Guide

  6. #6
    hoskfam is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Hi Neils,

    This topic is a few months old, but I thought that I would reply anyway. I believe that I have discovered a solution to your dilemma.

    I discovered a great little program called "Wine" for Linux that allows you to run Windows-based programs on the Linux operating system. Furthermore, I discovered an additional resource that works along with "Wine" called "IEs4Linux". "Wine" normally can run Windows programs on its own, however Internet Explorer uses so many native API and DLL calls that "Wine", alone, cannot handle it. So IEs4Linux helps to fill in what "Wine" lacks. IEs4Linux can run Internet Explorer 6 and to some degree Internet Explorer 7.

    I installed both "Wine" and "IEs4Linux" and tried Time4Learning with the Internet Explorer 6 version (had problems with IE7 version) and everything seemed to work fine, with the exception of a somewhat jittery Internet Explorer 6 shell (very mild) and Time4Learning running a little slow (though not bad). My daughter and I tested it and we made it through the login screen and deep into one of her Language Arts courses. Other than it being a bit sluggish (though, nothing that would hinder use by any means), it seemed to work great! There may be issues that we did not encounter, but time and use would be the only thing to surface those. We only tested it for a little bit.

    Anyway, below are the two websites from where I downloaded the programs from. Download and install "Wine" first. Then goto the tatanka site and download IEs4Linux. Be sure to follow the specific instructions on the page for your Linux build. I use Ubuntu. It will have you do some things in your "Terminal" program first, then have you download and install the program.

    http://www.winehq.org/site/download
    http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Installation

    Hope it works for ya!

    Jon

  7. #7
    hoskfam is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Hi Neils,

    This topic is a few months old, but I thought that I would reply anyway. I believe that I have discovered a solution to your dilemma.

    I discovered a great little program called "Wine" for Linux that allows you to run Windows-based programs on the Linux operating system. Furthermore, I discovered an additional resource that works along with "Wine" called "IEs4Linux". "Wine" normally can run Windows programs on its own, however Internet Explorer uses so many native API and DLL calls that "Wine", alone, cannot handle it. So IEs4Linux helps to fill in what "Wine" lacks. IEs4Linux can run Internet Explorer 6 and to some degree Internet Explorer 7.

    I installed both "Wine" and "IEs4Linux" and tried Time4Learning with the Internet Explorer 6 version (had problems with IE7 version) and everything seemed to work fine, with the exception of a somewhat jittery Internet Explorer 6 shell (very mild) and Time4Learning running a little slow (though not bad). My daughter and I tested it and we made it through the login screen and deep into one of her Language Arts courses. Other than it being a bit sluggish (though, nothing that would hinder use by any means), it seemed to work great! There may be issues that we did not encounter, but time and use would be the only thing to surface those. We only tested it for a little bit.

    Anyway, below are the two websites from where I downloaded the programs from. Download and install "Wine" first. Then goto the tatanka site and download IEs4Linux. Be sure to follow the specific instructions on the page for your Linux build. I use Ubuntu. It will have you do some things in your "Terminal" program first, then have you download and install the program.

    http://www.winehq.org/site/download
    http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Installation

    Hope it works for ya!

    Jon

  8. #8
    hoskfam is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Hi Niel,

    I am following up on a post that I submitted last night regarding the use of "Wine" & "IEs4Linux" to run Internet Explorer on a Linux box. Although, I can't seem to find the post on the forum anywhere. Maybe, it needs to be approved by the forum moderators or something??

    Anyway, I read up on the "legals" on that approach and it seems that to be "legal", you would need to actually own a legal copy of Windows. Even if it isn't installed on your system. You just need to own a legal copy of Windows. I do, so this isn't a problem for me, but it might be for you should you not have a version of Windows already.

    Jon

  9. #9
    omadarlin is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Re: Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron

    Hi folks,

    I was reading this thread and tried Wine (Crossover office professional, actually) and it didn't completely take. Looks like the final flaw is actually some Shockwave content on the site. I can get Ubuntu Linux with Firefox 3 and a Flash player to do the parent's part of the site and about half of the student's part of the site. But no matter how I tweaked my emulator (I use Crossover office professional which is like Wine only more versatile) I couldn't quite get it to take completely even running IE.

    One option for folks who have a fairly new PC (P4-ish and a gig of RAM) is to use a Virtual Machine. Sun's xVM Virtual Box (http://www.sun.com/software/products/virtualbox/get.jsp) is a nice solution. You can install the virtual machine and then use it only for accessing T4L. I use Windows VM for another app that has to run in Windows and have it auto-launch into that app. It's not a great solution but it is one solution to reduce your risk of using a Windows machine as your primary OS (which is what we are looking at doing because our daughter's PC doesn't have enough oomph to run a VM). One caveat on this, please make sure you have a valid Windows license if you do this. Most PC's from the store will have a certificate of authenticity on them for Windows. If you do you're good to go. Use that license when you install the VM.

    I really think the problem could be fixed if the content were looked at and any shockwave material were changed to just normal Flash. Adobe now supports their latest Flash player in Linux native format but not Shockwave.

    Michael Wigle
    Linux geek
    Blessings,
    Heather


    "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~~ Dorothy Parker

  10. #10
    HeatherB75 is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Re: Firefox 3 on Ubuntu Hardy Heron

    Althought the Admin states that they cannot support every OS platform, since this is a web based application, your OS, does not matter. HOWEVER, they are checking what OS you are using when you hit the web based application and querying your browser for what the OS is as well as your browser. Since Ubuntu is "not a supported platform", what you have to do is "lie" to the website application server and tell it that you are actually using Firefox on Windows XP.

    1) Now, as someone else stated, just simply go search the Firefox addons for User Agent Switcher. Add this to Firefox and then you will need to restart the browser.
    2) Go to Tools in Firefox. You will see there is now Default User Agent. Select the option for Edit User Agents...
    3) You will now have a window that shows you some default Internet Explorers, and iPhone and Google search bot User Agent string. We can add, edit, or remove, and below we can import. On the right hand side you will see a check box across from the Import.. Button that says Overwrite existing UserAgent strings, and a link to Download more User Agent strings. Ultimately this list will take you to this XML file that you can download and import:
    http://www1.qainsight.net:8080/content/ ... 070304.xml
    You can do that, and you will be able to choose an option for Firefox 2.0 on XP (which is working great on my son's Ubuntu installation. Or if you just want to get things going, let's just create the entry to spoof this site into thinking we Linux users are actually using Microsoft Windows XP.
    4) Click the New... button, which will produce a list. Select the first option New User Agent... This will bring up a User Agent editor. It has some options that will be obvious. Description, Platform, UserAgent, Vendor etc. Description is used so that we can identify this entry once we have created it. So lets call it something like Firefox3.0onXP or something else to your liking. The next line that we are most concerned with is the UserAgent line itself. Paste the following into that (this is actually the User Agent String):
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.0.1) Gecko/2008070208 Firefox/3.0.1
    5) Next, for good measure, lets go ahead and populate some of the other fields just in case. (Most of these should be correct already).
    App Code Name: Mozilla
    App Name: Netscape
    App Version: 5.0 (Windows; en-US)
    Platform: Win32
    Vendor and Vendor sub seems to be left blank on a Windows XP install with Firefox installed, so clear any contents in those. (I checked this on my virtual install of Windows XP with Firefox on it to be sure).
    6) Click OK, and you should now see your new entry in the User Agent Switcher Options.
    7) Click OK on User Agent Switcher Options window to close it.
    8) Now, go to the Tools menu in Firefox, Default User Agent, and now we see the list now has our Firefox3.0onXP entry. Select it by clicking on it, and now when you hit a web site, Firefox will report it is Firefox 3.0 running on Windows XP. Hit this site, and you should be good to go.

    The reason for selecting Firefox on XP, is that this site is restricting on Operating System. It fully supports Firefox 3.0. With the default entries in User Agent Switcher you only have the option of being Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 on Windows. What we needed, really, was to "lie" to the site about what our Operating System is, so that it lets our browser through.

    Happy Learning!

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